Biden admin: Spy balloon incident didn’t make ‘major impact’ on relations with China

According to President Joe Biden and the State Department, the presence of a Chinese spy balloon over American soil earlier this month did not have a “major” impact on relations with the Chinese Communist Party.

Biden himself categorically answered “no” to an interview question published Wednesday night, in which PBS anchor Judy Woodruff asked whether relations between Washington and the CCP have taken a “huge hit” recently. State Department spokesman Ned Price echoed that sentiment later in the week, telling the Daily Caller during a news conference that he agrees with the president.

“Look, I made it very clear to Xi Jinping that we are going to compete fully with China, but we are not looking for conflict,” Biden told Woodruff. “And that has been the case until now.”

Price hinted that the reason relations have not taken a “big blow” is that ties with the PRC are already in a strained state. He explained that acts like flying a spy balloon over the continental United States is what the government expects from Beijing.

“I share this assessment, not surprisingly, because, Dylan, we are under no illusions about the challenges that the PRC presents,” Price said Thursday. “So of course we don’t wake up acknowledging anything about the PRC or the challenges we face in the PRC that we didn’t know before last week.”

Price added that while this incident may have been the first time many Americans have become aware of the true extent of the challenges posed by China, that is not the case for officials in Washington. (RELATED: First Balloons, Now Space Lasers: Chinese Satellite Shines Green Lights Over Hawaii)

Chinese diplomats have taken a hard line on Washington since Biden ordered the launch of a Chinese spy balloon a week ago off the coast of the Carolinas. The CCP condemned the “indiscriminate” use of force when the balloon was shot down and said it reserved the right to take similar action if roles were reversed. Beijing also declined to take a call from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as the situation unfolded and condemned a House of Representatives resolution condemning the use of the balloon as “political manipulation”.

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